Ecuador is known for its numerous volcanoes that regularly erupt. For example, the capital city of Quito is surrounded by no less than 5 volcanoes. The country is also the largest exporter of bananas in the world and street vendors and street musicians from the Otavalo region can be found throughout Europe. The Flemish Franciscan Joost De Rijcke (Jodoco Rique), a 16th century missionary and historian, wrote the first and oldest preserved Dutch travel report on the Inca Empire and is regarded as one of the founders of Ecuador. He founded the Quito painting school and he is credited with introducing grain and beer to the Inca Indians. The five hundredth anniversary of his birth in 1998 was celebrated in both Ecuador and Flanders.
Ecuador also has an important current link with Flanders via the Flemish universities that are active within the VLIR framework. In addition, the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB) is active in Ecuador. This all enjoys financing from the Federal Development Cooperation.